An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
In a time in-between, Urgu the Dark leapt up from his hollow in the ground and enslaved the world.
He forged great chains of fire and iron, and used them to bind the great dragons. Caverns of rock and ice he made to hold the animals. He fashioned cages of bone and thorn for the birds, and nets of silken pain for the fish. The plants he withered, the mountains he broke and the streams he quenched, until nothing moved on the Earth. Nothing except Urgu.
The giant thing strode over the blackened ground, surveying his vast domain. The gods cowered in their sky-palaces, afraid that he would decide to attempt the jump and come for them next. Finally satisfied, the creature set about building a titanic wall around the world. When he was finished, he closed it with three gates: one of fire, one of bells and the last of shadow. Then he boasted, jeering and humiliating his prisoners.
“You are mine forever! None of you will ever escape. However, I am magnanimous: to each I will give on chance to pass the gates. Succeed, and all shall go free. Fail, and only Death will be your companion.”
The creatures of Earth were many and most were courageous. Countless cried out, beseeching Urgu to let them try. But the dark thing was cunning and although he was arrogant, he dared not take the risk. Therefore, he moved his abode to the top of the highest mountain, far from the prisons and out of earshot of the pleas.
As the voices quieted and silence filled the world, Goshawk stirred in his small cage of bone. Not the greatest bird was he, nor the bravest. But he had a knack for passing through small spaces and changing himself to hunt and flee.
He turned his wings this way and that, until finally, he was out of the cage and flapping over the scarred wasteland. He flew far and for a long time, following the charred marks of Urgu’s passage. Sometime later, he reached the Seat of Urgu, and flying up to the Dark One’s ear, demanded to take the trial. His screech was so loud that Urgu cried out and on the plains below, man and beast heard the challenge.
Not to be made a fool of, the giant took the bird and set him down before the doors.
“Give up now, little thing, and you may yet live out eternity in your cage.”
Goshawk said nothing. His eyes were on the doors. Bars of fire and bells; a keyhole of light amidst the dark.
He took off.
First, he twisted through the bars of fire that were the first door. The flames leapt out to grab him, but he was already gone, sweeping past the net of bells of the second door. Not one bell tinkled, so the silence remained unbroken.
Finally, Goshawk grew small. Folding his wings, he passed through the keyhole of the door of shadow and escaped into the Sea of Stars.
Urgu raged and roared, but his words had been clear. The Laws had to be upheld and so he left Earth, freeing the beasts and birds.
Goshawk now travels under the starry sky, flitting through the underbrush and through the keyholes of the world, listening for tales that twist and turn through the doors of the soul.-